Book Review: Words on the Move by John McWhorter

Language Is Ever-Evolving

Dr. John McWhorter provides many examples of how language evolves – quickly. Examples come from Shakespeare’s time illustrate how opposite meanings can co-exist for the same word.  He also shows how grammar evolves organically, leaving pedants behind to grumble. He does all this with an amusing and clear voice.

Context Matters

John McWhorter, linguist from Columbia University, examines the subconscious cultural and linguistic messages sent by choosing certain words or phrases. He uses his deep understanding of the abstract subject of linguistics to explain to the average person how language works. He also explains “pragmatics” to show the complexity of meaning and context with concrete examples.  

Make the Most of Summer

If you are looking for a fun and intellectual read this summer, Words on the Move will spark your thoughts on why and if we should teach grammar and vocabulary.  I recommend the audio book, because McWhorter narrates his own book. It is engaging enough to be consumed while walking on the beach or doing dishes.

Words on the Move: Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally)  Audiobook – Unabridged John McWhorter (Author, Narrator), Audible Studios (Publisher)